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[This is the feed of only English episodes.] How do scientists uncover phenomena and explain their connections? How do engineers design machines, methods and infrastructure? At omega tau, experts give detailed answers. Over the last ten years, we have produced 300 episodes in which we dug deeper, until we ran out of questions. Join us on our journey through the world of science and engineering: the closer you look and listen, the more interesting things get.

[This is the feed of only English episodes.] How do scientists uncover phenomena and explain their connections? How do engineers design machines, methods and infrastructure? At omega tau, experts give detailed answers. Over the last ten years, we have produced 300 episodes in which we dug deeper, until we ran out of questions. Join us on our journey through the world of science and engineering: the closer you look and listen, the more interesting things get.
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United States

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[This is the feed of only English episodes.] How do scientists uncover phenomena and explain their connections? How do engineers design machines, methods and infrastructure? At omega tau, experts give detailed answers. Over the last ten years, we have produced 300 episodes in which we dug deeper, until we ran out of questions. Join us on our journey through the world of science and engineering: the closer you look and listen, the more interesting things get.

Language:

English


Episodes

317 – The ALICE Detector

7/9/2019
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In May I visited ALICE, one of the four large experiments at the LHC and talked with Despina Hatzifotiadou. We briefly discussed the science that ALICE is interested in, and then spent the majority of the time dissecting the detector to understand its components and how they detect the various products of particle collisions.

Duration:02:02:26

315 – Modeling Socio-Technical Systems

6/14/2019
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Socio-technical systems are systems where (groups of) humans interact with (non-trivial) technical systems; an example is the power grid. The people, the technical system and the combination might easily lead to complex behavior that is hard to predict and control over the long term. However, as illustrated by, for example, the need to transition our energy infrastructure to a more sustainable structure, it is necessary for society to "control" such systems. Igor Nikolic is a professor at...

Duration:02:42:51

314 – London Air Ambulance

6/1/2019
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Earlier this year I visited the London Air Ambulance, a charity organization that flies two MD-902 helicopters over the UK's capital. I chatted with their chief pilot Neil Jeffers about the flying and some of the medical aspects. My recorder then joined Neil on a short flight to their hangar at RAF Northolt. There, we met Adam Spink, a NATS air traffic controller at Heathrow, and the three of us chatted about the ATC perspective of flying helicopters (sometimes) in Heathrows's approach.

Duration:02:13:57

312 – The Wendelstein 7-X Fusion Experiment

5/11/2019
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In our never-ending quest to understand fusion and its potential use in energy production, I visited the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment in Greifswald run by the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik. We started out with a visit to the experiment hall, while experimentalist Matthias Hirsch gave us an overview over the machine. Next we discussed theory and modeling with Ralf Kleiber. Finally, I returned to Matthias Hirsch, and we chatted about more experimental aspects of Wendelstein. It is...

Duration:03:27:49

309 – Forensic Engineering

4/9/2019
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In this episode I chat with Sean Brady about structural failures in civil engineering. We first discuss the technical and organzational causes for such failures. We then look at Sean's specialty, forensic engineering, which is about analyzing failures to determine the root cause. Sean also has his own podcast in which he delves into much more detail about engineering failures, not just in construction.

Duration:02:04:58

306 – Flying the RC-135S Cobra Ball

3/9/2019
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Throughout the cold war, and til today, the Cobra-codenamed ground, sea and air assets have been used by the US to monitor Soviet/Russian ICBM missile launches and warhead reentries. The air component consists of the RC-135 Cobra Ball/Eye aircraft. Flying from Shemya in the Aleutians they used cameras and other sensors. Our guest, Robert Hopkins has been flying the aircraft in the late 1980s. In this episode he tells us about the mission and the flying -- Shemya could be quite challenging.

Duration:01:33:30

304 – The Past, Present and Future of Fusion Energy

2/9/2019
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Justin and Jason wrote a nice book on fusion called The Future of Fusion Energy, and this episode is based on this book. We start out by revisiting the breakthroughs that drove progress in fusion over the decades, including understanding stars, the tokamak, superconducting magnets, supercomputers and a number of specific aspects of plasma physics. We then look at the current state of fusion research as well as where it might go.

Duration:02:15:35

300 – How Processors Got So Fast

12/17/2018
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Have you ever wondered how the processor in your phone or computer got so much more faster than what the increase in megahertz suggests? In this episode we talk with Lex Augusteijn about superscalar processors, pipelining, speculative execution, register renaming and the like. We also discuss concerns other than speed, in particular, energy efficiency.

Duration:02:25:00

299 – Gravity Storage

12/2/2018
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With power generation in the grid becoming more diverse and decentralized, energy storage is becoming more and more important. Eduard Heindl's gravity storage is an approach to storing electrical energy as potential energy by lifting huge masses cut out of the ground. While this sounds crazy, there are lots of reasons why this makes sense. In the episode we discuss then need, the general approach, the construction process and some of the engineering challenges. We also look at the innovation...

Duration:01:40:16

297 – Flying the AH-64 Apache

11/18/2018
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In mid-September I drove to Illesheim Army Airfield to meet with Caleb Marheine who flies the AH-64 Apache helicopter there. We talked about the helicopter's systems, the cockpit, aspects of flying it as well as some of the missions.

Duration:02:28:50

295 – BepiColombo

10/26/2018
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On October 20, the BepiColombo started its flight to Mercury on an Ariane 5 from Kourou. I was at the launch press event at ESOC in Darmstadt to follow the launch and to record a couple of interviews. The episode consists of three major parts. The first part is an interview with Pablo Munoz about mission analysis and flight dynamics. The second part looks at the science with Joe Zender, Roberto Peron, Ajako Matsuoka and Joana Oliveira. And part three are multiple short takes with Paolo...

Duration:02:12:18

292 – Gene Editing with CRISPR/Cas

9/14/2018
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CRISPR is a family of DNA sequences in bacteria and archaea that are a part of these organisms' cellular defense system. A recent discovery showed how this mechanism can be used to edit genes much more easily than legacy methods. In this episode I chat with Sam Sternberg about the naturally occuring CRISPR systems, how they work, and how CRISPR together with its associated enzymes can be used to cut, and subsequently, edit, DNA. We conclude the episode with an outlook on the potential use in...

Duration:01:31:34

291 – Flying in the Papuan Bush

8/31/2018
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I chat with Daniel Geaslen about bush flying. His (at this time, former) job is to fly Kodiak turbo props for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua Indonesia, supplying remote villages. We cover the airplane, the missions, as well as the flying itself, with a particular focus on weather and challenging airfields.

Duration:01:44:05

290 – Langs Biogas-Kraftwerk

8/17/2018
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Vor ein paar Wochen habe ich Ernst-Günther und Matthias Lang auf ihrem Hof und Biogas-Kraftwerk besucht. Wir haben uns unterhalten über den Verarbeitungs- und Energiegewinnungsprozess, die Integration und Synergien mit der Landwirtschaft sowie Aspekte der Wirtschaftlichkeit und der Unterstützung erneuerbarer Energien in Deutschland generell.

Duration:02:09:19

289 – Music Production at Sandlane Studios

8/1/2018
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A few years ago, I interviewed Arjen Lucassen about his wonderful music and how he makes it; obviously, I am a big fan! Recently, his Ayreon universe was performed live on stage and I was blown away. I decided I had to talk the the guy behind the live shows, Joost van den Broek. Luckily he agreed. So I visited him in his studios and we talked about music production and arrangement in general, and specifically for the Ayreon live shows.

Duration:02:06:54

288 – Flight Research at NASA Armstrong, Part 3: Historic

7/17/2018
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In this episode I talk with NASA Armstrong's chief scientist Al Bowers about the research projects he has been involved in during his long career at NASA. We cover deep stall research with a Schweizer sailplane, high-alpha flight and thrust vectoring with the X-29, X-31 and F-18 HARV, aero-tow of fast jets with the F-106, supercritical wings with the F-8, as well as space related projects using the SR-71 and the X-30. This is one of my favourite episodes of all time, since it is a bit of...

Duration:03:00:26

286 – Software Analog Effects

6/21/2018
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Effects devices are essential for electric guitars and keyboards because they shape sound and make it interesting; many classic devices exist. However, those are rare and/or expensive, plus, even if they are not, carrying them around on a tour costs money. This is why these hardware devices are simulated in software, and distributed as plugins for audio software. Native Instruments is a manufacturer of such software analog effects packages. In this episode I chat with one of their engineers,...

Duration:02:04:24

285 – Superconductivity

6/8/2018
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Superconductivity, the ability of a material to carry electrical current with zero resistance, is a surprising property of nature, which man has been able to exploit in many ways, in particular, for high-performance magnets. Those are used in magnetic resonance imagers, but also in colliders and fusion reactors. In this episode we discuss the basics of superconductivity and its uses with Pierre Bauer, a superconductor engineer at ITER.

Duration:02:50:49

283 – The Perlan Project

5/10/2018
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The Perlan Project aims to fly gliders into the stratosphere by exploiting mountain waves in order to better understand those waves and to explore the edge of what gliders can do. In fact, last September, they broke the world altitude record for gliders. In this episode we chat about the project, the airplane and the flying with engineer Lars Bensch and pilot Jim Payne.

Duration:01:51:19

279 – Microgravity Research at ZARM Drop Tower

3/10/2018
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During our tour NorthWest 2017 I visited the drop tower at Uni Bremen's ZARM and talked with Martin Castillo, the head of material science at the facility. We discussed the basics of microgravity research, the technical aspects of the tower, how to set up experiments, and also about his particular work in material science.

Duration:01:46:56